Edited by Elodi Troskie
If Stockholm isn’t on the top of your travel bucket list yet, you should seriously reconsider! What makes Stockholm so special is how the city brings together the best of both urban and natural landscapes. Consisting of 14 different islands, the city is surrounded by luscious greenery and beautiful water views.
If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful capital of Sweden and want to explore Stockholm off the beaten path, rest assured there are lots of non-touristy things to do in Stockholm! Here are my favorite hidden gems in Stockholm.
I’m a big fan of the museums in Stockholm, especially since so many of them don’t charge any admission fees. If you’re a sucker for museums, you’ll have the time of your life here! If time allows for it, you can take an entire day to visit all the best museums in Stockholm.
My favorite one is the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, translating to the Royal Museum of Natural History. The museum was established in 1819 but some of the collections and items date back as far as the 1700s. The buildings as they are today, topped with a dome, were finished in 1916.
The main campus of Stockholm University was later built just next door. There are nine permanent exhibitions about the earth, animals and plants and them museum also features an IMAX cinema that is the largest planetarium in Sweden. Opening hours are from 10 am until 6 pm every day except Mondays.
Skeppsholmen is one of Stockholm’s best-hidden gems. Of the city’s 14 islands, Skeppsholmen is one of my personal favorites! Most tourists don’t know about this island, and even locals don’t always bother taking the trip across the old town. Skeppsholmen has incredible natural landscapes – including a small forest.
Skeppsholmen offers great opportunities for photography, with its historic buildings, greenery, and water views. You’ll also have a beautiful view of the Royal Castle that is situated on Stockholm’s mainland. Once again, I especially like the admission-free museums around here. This island is worth a full day-trip!
To reach Skeppsholmen, you can take either a bus or ferry from the city center. The island itself isn’t very big, so you can easily cover it on foot. The promenade encircling the entire Skeppsholmen is the perfect place to view the sunset from.
Skinnarviksberget is a locals’ favorite spot on the island of Södermalm. This hill is the highest natural point in the city, making it one of the best sunset viewpoints in Stockholm. Although this is quite a well-known place, it’s never really crowded because it requires a bit of a mission to get there.
If you do brave the 50-minute hike up the hill, you’ll be greeted by cheerful locals having a barbeque, drinking wine, listening to music and enjoying the beautiful views. The weather may not always allow a trip up Skinnarviksberget during winter, but in summer (definitely the best time to visit Stockholm!), this is the perfect spot for sundowners with the locals.
To reach Skinnarviksberget, take the train to Zinkensdamm, from where the rest of the journey will be on foot. If you’re visiting Södermalm, Stockholm’s hipster’s paradise, heading up Skinnarviksberget is a must-do activity!
Monteliusvägen is a walking path with a viewpoint that overlooks the entire city. Not far from Skinnarviksberget, you can take a lazy evening stroll here after hiking up the hill. Locals love this pathway for early morning jogs or dog walks and if you’re staying in the Södermalm area, it won’t take long to see how special this place is to the neighborhood and its residents.
The 500-meter path offers a breath-taking view of Lake Mälaren, City Hall, the Royal Castle, and Riddarholmen. Needless to say, this is another one of Stockholm’s most beautiful viewpoints to catch either the sunrise or sunset and to get those gram-worthy shots!
Because it’s such a narrow walking lane, Monteliusvägen isn’t always listed on Google Maps. The pathway runs parallel to Bastugatan and can be reached via the Centralbron Bridge, Hornsgatan and finally the Bellmansgatan.
Djurgården is Stockholm’s ‘animal garden’ island. This is one of the most beautiful, naturally rich areas around the city and a top pick for Stockholm’s best-hidden gem neighborhoods. Djurgården is situated across the bridge from the sophisticated neighborhood of Östermalm, where you’ll find more nightlife excitement.
Djurgården is more of a residential area, making it a tranquil haven from the hustle and bustle of city life – ideal for families traveling with kids. This green paradisal area is home to many parks, walkways, and picturesque little cafes, and features postcard-worthy historic architecture.
Djurgården will transport you to an off-grid countryside village! Of course, my favorite part is the museums. Visit Skansen, Sweden’s first open-air museum and zoo, or spend the day at the Gröna Lund Amusement Park. Djurgården is small enough to explore on foot. To get back to the city center, take tram line 7.
Photo credit: ccarollinee.blogspot.com/2016/01/b-day-di
Aifur is a cool restaurant and party room hidden away in a basement in the main street of Gamla Stan. Despite the busy area it’s located in, many people walk right past this place because it’s not very visible from the outside.
The restaurant’s interior is fitted out in Viking-style décor – dark wood, leather, fur, and exact replicas of objects found in graves and excavations all over Europe. Even the glasses and cutlery follow suit!
Aifur is only open for dinner and you have to book in advance. The restaurant can seat about 100 people, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting a reservation. In addition to the dinner menu, there is a great bar with a wide selection of beer. Definitely a recommendation for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Rålambshovsparken, nicknamed ‘Rålis’ by the locals, is a beautiful public park located at the beach on the island of Kungsholmen. This is a great place for kids to play around so you’ll often see families hanging out here over weekends.
Locals come to the park to play soccer or beach volleyball, and sometimes there are even yoga or pilates classes. A really cool feature of the park is Parkteatern, the outdoor theater that is a popular location for live music concerts during summer.
There are also a couple of restaurants and cafes on-site, so once you’re camped out here, you’ll have everything you need close by! Rålis is also one of the few places in Stockholm where you can find street food.
If you’re walking to the park, the pathways along Norr Mälarstrand or over the Västerbron bridge from Södermalm’s direction have beautiful views – definitely worth the extra labor.
Photo credit: facebook.com/hornstullsmarknad/photos
Hornstulls Marknad, an outdoor street market located in the trendy neighborhood of Södermalm, is one of the coolest places to visit in Stockholm over the weekend. The market runs along the waterside in the western part of the district. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday from April until the end of September.
You’ll find all kinds of vintage gems, second-hand clothes, antiques, and art pieces at this market, and if you get peckish, there’s a big variety of food trucks selling all the typical flea-market treats. This market is a really cool community initiative – anyone can be a vendor and local artists are encouraged to showcase their original work here.
It’s best to bring cash since not all vendors have card facilities. To reach the market, take metro line 13 or 14 to Hornstull and walk down towards the water, where you’ll see the pink tents from afar. Opening hours are from 11 am until 5 pm.
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tantolund
Tantolunden is a large park on the Södermalm island that is connected to the Hornstull Marknad. This is one of those slow-paced local hangout spots that tourists won’t read about their guide books. This area is particularly popular among the younger crowd who come here to swim, have picnics, play frisbee golf and attend concerts at the open-air theater.
Something unique about this park is its 100+ allotment gardens and garden sheds that have been an active part of this community for more than a century. Tantolunden is a must-visit place in Stockholm for families looking for ways to keep their kids entertained, and also for budget travelers since there are so many cool things to do here for free.
A must-do in Tantolunden in hiking up the mound in the center of the park. From the top of the mound, you’ll have an incredible panoramic view over the water.
If you want to eat like a local in Stockholm, Vete-Katten is a must-visit restaurant. This coffee shop is located in the city center, but tourists often walk right past it to visit one of Stockholm’s more hipstery cafes. The irony is that the ‘hipster’ trend has skyrocketed so much in Stockholm’s cafes that the ‘non-hipster’ coffee shops are the most alternative.
This is why Vete-Katten is such a precious hidden gem and one of my favorite places in Stockholm. The antique interior gives it an interesting edge because it doesn’t look like the majority of other cafes in the city.
Their food is amazing and they perform especially well in the baking and confectionery department. A personal favorite is their princess cake and their cinnamon buns – must-tries! Vete-Katten is open daily from 7:30 am until 8 pm.
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